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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S3 E18 "The Singularity"

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The S.H.I.E.L.D. team is left reeling and decimated as Hive continues to sway Inhumans to his side. But there is a sliver of hope, as Agents Fitz and Simmons follow a lead that may be able to stop the maniacal Inhuman once and for all.


Tropes:

  • Alien Blood: Hive is bleeding some brownish ooze.
  • Adaptational Species Change: In the comics, Hellfire's power stems from being a (fully human) descendant of Carter Slade, the Phantom Rider. Here, he's an Inhuman.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: Jemma's going to have to perform surgery on someone's eye again? Oh, no, it's just a prosthesis.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. May, Daisy and Simmons are all still very noticeably showing cuts and marks on their faces from earlier episodes.
  • Better as Friends: Fitz and Simmons debate whether or not to remain as this before deciding to undergo a Relationship Upgrade instead.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Twice with Alisha's clones, first by one Alisha clone shooting the other one in a Shoot the Hostage gambit and then by Coulson to stop the remaining one.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Hive adds Alisha and James to his posse.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Alisha's clone is shot in the head, yet the bullet doesn't cause any injury to Lincoln, who is standing right behind her.
  • The Bus Came Back: Alisha returns after Lash killed one of her doubles in "Devils You Know", having been in protective housing since then to give her time to recover.
  • Call-Back:
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    • The video transmission glasses make a return from the first season's "Eye Spy". Doctor Radcliffe also references Cybertek's explosive eye implants from that episode.
    • After Simmons tells Mack that she shot Hive, she recalls that she always said that she'd shoot Ward.
  • Chekhov's Gun: May gives Simmons a gun before she goes undercover, telling her that she'll know when she needs to use it if she needs to. After Hive corners her, she uses it to put a few holes in him.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Defied by James. Once he gets powers he starts brainstorming fire-related codenames to use, ultimately deciding on "Hellfire".
  • Composite Character: It turns out James is the MCU version of Hellfire (James Taylor James) from the comics, though his powers are more similar to those of Gambit.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • One of James's rejected monikers is "Scorch." He's no Chan Ho Yin, though.
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    • As in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, male and female S.H.I.E.L.D. agents' investigations lead them to a building which turns out to be a trap which collapses the building on top of them. They survive by hiding in a cavity in the floor whilst the male agent uses a super-strong shield to protect them from falling debris. Knowing Coulson, it's tempting to think it was deliberate on his part.
    • Try listening to Anon and not thinking of Dottie from Agent Carter.
  • Death Seeker: Daisy tells Hive that she is glad Grant Ward is dead. He replies that Ward himself is glad too, in a way.
  • Deflector Shields: Coulson has an energy shield built into his prosthetic arm that he uses to protect himself and May from an explosion.
    Coulson: I thought it would be cool for the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. to have a shield, and Fitz agreed, so...
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The Kree orb is revealed to work in tandem with a larger, box-shaped artifact James buried under his house. Hive describes it as the only thing that can kill him.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: Daisy tells Fitz that if S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps coming after her and Hive, she'll kill them, though she'd really like not to.
  • Double Standard: Both May and Lincoln himself point out that Coulson is apparently fine with letting him die, but not Daisy. Coulson admits they're right, and backs off from that stance by grounding Lincoln instead of putting him out in the field with a bomb vest.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Thanks to Malick's intel, the ATCU is able to simultaneously and offscreen destroy all of HYDRA's facilities in a matter of seconds. Coulson lampshades how anti-climatic and random it is by comparing it to a sideshow he watches on his monitor in-between something more important.
  • Dutch Angle: There's a dramatic one as Daisy walks away from Fitz (presumably from his perspective, lying on the floor).
  • Emotion Bomb: Hive doesn't control thoughts, he just amplifies emotions that are already there, like in Daisy's case the desire to fit in and have a family.
  • Evil Plan: Hive's plan is finally revealed. He wants to turn everyone on the planet into an Inhuman and rule over a new world.
  • Explosive Leash: Coulson's one condition for Lincoln going into the field is that he wear a thermite vest, in case he falls under Hive's sway. Lincoln initially refuses to wear a "murder vest" and May gives Coulson an earful over giving her the kill switch.
  • Eye Scream: Simmons stabs a syringe into a surgery patient's eye. It turns out to be a prosthesis.
  • Fake Static: In order to have a private chat at the club, Fitz and Simmons claim that there's interference on their end and they need to reboot their comms. Mack later tells Simmons how often Bobbi and Hunter would pull that trick.
  • Fantastic Racism: James announces his contempt for the club patrons who have enhanced themselves artificially instead of having inherent powers as the Inhumans do.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Mack, May, and Coulson conclude that Daisy must be doing this, otherwise she would have done much more damage as she left. She could have destroyed the entire building instead of merely blocking the hangar doors. Also, Daisy could have killed Fitz, but didn't, instead warning him of her vision from "Spacetime" and her plea not to involve anyone from S.H.I.E.L.D. lest someone she cares about ends up dying.
  • Foreshadowing: A minor one - when explaining Dr. Radcliffe's transhumanism to Coulson, Fitz offhandedly mentions "digital immortality," which winds up actually somewhat possible in the Framework arc of the next season.
  • For Science!: Dr. Radcliffe's main motivation is the progression of the Transhuman cause. Appealing to this is how Fitz and Simmons plan to get close to him and he doesn't seem afraid of or averse to Hive once he lays out his plans.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Fitz and Simmons "cross the singularity" between friends and lovers at the end of the episode.
  • Good Is Not Soft:
    • Coulson assures Lincoln that he is a valued member of his team, but can't risk him falling to Hive and so insists on strapping an explosive vest to Lincoln just in case he gets under Hive's control. He'd rather Lincoln didn't go on the mission at all.
    • Lincoln himself is not soft as he threatens Alisha to make her clone suffer if she doesn't tell him about Daisy.
  • Immune to Bullets:
    • Variant. One of the side effects of the way Hive's brainwashing works means that its enslaved Inhumans will be immune to ICER rounds. This makes taking them in alive much more complicated. As Simmons puts it, "Not only do they feel like they're bullet proof, they actually are."
    • Hive is shot point-blank three times, and it affects him about as much as a light punch to the gut.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Daisy tells Hive that her name is Daisy, not Skye. Since Ward never learned Skye's true name, Hive is perplexed.
    • Daisy also tells Fitz of her vision of someone from the team dying.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Hive channels Will — or pretends to, to mess with Simmons's head — to tell her that he's happy for her and that she needs to move on so she can be happy. Simmons is having none of it, though she's visibly affected.
  • Jump Scare: Simmons turns to look at the security guard escorting her from the bar just in time to see him being eaten away by Hive.
  • Like a Son to Me: Coulson admits that Daisy is like a daughter to him.
  • Moment Killer: Just as Fitz and Simmons are about to have a private moment, they are called to the meeting.
  • More Than Mind Control: Simmons describes how Hive controls Inhumans; not by overtly controlling their minds but by having its parasitic spores control the target's dopamine levels, making them feel good for following him and literally addicting them to it.
  • Mythology Gag: Coulson's prosthetic hand has been outfitted with a hard-light shield much like the one used occasionally by Captain America in the comics.
  • Not Worth Killing: Since Hive doesn't attack them while they're vulnerable, Coulson concludes Hive doesn't care about them.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The ATCU wrecks a number (if not all) of HYDRA's remaining facilities and resources, thanks to Malick's intel during his brief incarceration. The episode, however, focuses on Coulson's team fighting Hive and his mind-controlled allies. Coulson and May watch a brief screen of it that is mostly audio.
  • The Oner: There is a small one in the beginning, featuring a dialogue between May and Mack.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Simmons puts a few rounds into Hive's stomach, but she later acknowledges it probably didn't do much.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Hive told Alisha beforehand not to kill Lincoln, apparently still abiding to his moral code never to kill fellow Inhumans.
    • In a twisted combination with Kick the Dog, Hive emulates Will to get close to Simmons.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: After two and a half seasons as such, this trope is cast aside for Fitz and Simmons as they have sex for the first time. However, it is not until after both discuss several times whether their friendship should remain platonic.
  • Playing with Fire: James's Inhuman ability, similar to Gambit from X-Men, is to superheat objects and turn them into bombs. The effectiveness of it seems to hinge on the object's mass (full wine glasses explode fairly harmlessly, while things like lamps and coolers go off like a hand grenade).
  • Power Incontinence: James has a bit of trouble not blowing things up accidentally until Hive sways him. Understandable, since he's literally just gone through Terrigenesis.
  • Psychic Strangle: Daisy uses her powers to strangle Fitz while delivering her warning.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Capturing Malick, the last head of HYDRA, and interrogating him as led to HYDRA being soundly defeated (for now), but in the bigger scheme of things it's utterly meaningless since compared to Hive it's small potatoes, as Coulson notes. "This should have been a great day."
  • Relationship Upgrade: After nearly three seasons as Platonic Life-Partners, Fitz and Simmons go to bed together for the first time.
  • Secret Test of Character: Dr. Radcliffe poses as a patient on which Fitz and Simmons must operate to demonstrate the viability of the eyes they've brought. Simmons is able to spot that his eye isn't human and stabs it with a syringe. He then reveals himself and admits he wanted to make sure they could appreciate the work, not just do it.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Jemma looks good while going undercover, a fact that Fitz is not oblivious to.
  • Shipper on Deck: Despite spending most of last season as the lone member of Team Coulson against FitzSimmons getting together, Mack is now not only okay learning that they're together, he's actually happy about it.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Lincoln grabs one of Alisha's clones and threatens to torture her unless the other clone tells him where Daisy is. That Alisha clone tells him that Hive won't let her, then guns down the other clone to take her out of the equation.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Planning to turn all humans into Inhumans? X-Men, is that you?
    • James, when going through possible codenames, says that "Firestarter" feels a little 90s.
  • Technology Levels: Hive claims that Humanity is almost at the same technological level the Kree were when they created the Inhumans, thousands of years ago, and believes that the best transhumanist scientist in the world can recreate the Inhuman experiments with Hive's help.
  • Title Drop: It comes from Fitz trying to explain his feelings about his relationship with Simmons. Like the technological Singularity, their Relationship Upgrade is a point after which he can no longer predict what will happen. After Simmons clarifies that Fitz is comparing them sleeping together to crossing the event horizon, she admits it's quite lovely... and a little terrifying.
  • Too Sooninvoked: Coulson complains about his injured leg hurting, right after using his nifty cybernetic hand to stop an explosion. May suggests that maybe he should get a cybernetic leg as well, and he's not amused.
  • Transhuman: Fitz and Simmons go undercover at a club where the patrons dabble in transhumanism. Most there have artificial parts of some sort. Dr. Radcliffe's assistant is indicated to be extensively modified, having built-in communication and EMP equipment accessed through a touchscreen interface on her arm. Radcliffe himself has a hybrid avian eye.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Radcliffe seems quite willing to collaborate with Hive in his plan to forcibly turn all of humanity into Inhumans.
  • Visionary Villain: Hive plans to create a safe world for Inhumans, by turning all humans into his kin by force.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Hive wants to create a safe world for his fellow Inhumans. He intends to do that by turning every single human into an Inhuman.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Giyera is not seen among Hive's growing army of infected Inhumans, nor is he even mentioned.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Both Lincoln and May give Coulson an earful for his "murder vest" idea, which he later concedes was out of line, but May also takes him to task for taking risks with the lives of others that he wouldn't dare take with Daisy.
  • You Are Too Late: S.H.I.E.L.D. is constantly one step behind here. They try to reach Alisha before Hive but she's already been taken and has left her clones waiting in ambush, Daisy's powers alert them to her targeting James but she's already left with the Kree artifact, and they try to find a geneticist that can cure Daisy but she shows up to kidnap him before they can seal the deal. Lampshaded by May when they arrive at James' trailer and tells Coulson "We're chasing our own tail".

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